Press release, Kirkenes, Murmansk, Luleå, Oulu, September 29th 2015
On Monday 28th of September, Thomas Nilsen was fired from his position as chief editor of the online news site BarentsObserver by the owners of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat, the three Northern Norwegian county administrations.
STATEMENT FROM BARENTS PRESS INTERNATIONAL, CONCERNING THE RESTRICTION OF BARENTSOBSERVERS' EDITORIAL FREEDOM
New head of publishing house "Karelia" dismisses journalists
On November, 3rd the editor of the newspaper "Licey" Natalia Meshkova and the correspondent of the same edition Anastasia Ermashova received the prevention about the labor contract being broken off. "Licey" is done by two of them so all journalists are dismissed. There's no notice about the newspaper beingclosed.
The document says that for the purpose of optimization of the publishing house's work and reduction of expenses N.Meshkova and A.Ermashova are dismissed to reduce the number of staff employees. The offered formulation actually doesn't explain much. It is not clear why two journalists have to leave the newspaper wheheas the edition is not closed. Where is the optimization? It looks like the new director general of the publishing house "Karelia" A.Arhipov just liquidates with his decision the unique Karelian newspaper writing about education, culture and family items.
But the destruction of the respected edition is hardly connected with financial optimization in the publishing house "Karelia". Two newspapers - "Licey" and its appendix for children «My newspaper» — get from the budget only 800 thousand roubles a year. The figure is more than modest.
A.Arhipov informed the employees that the government of Karelia has allocated to the publishing house 10 million roubles — 5 for the newspaper "Karelia" and 5 for some new paper project. So what prevents from financing "Licey" if there's budget money for a new edition. The dismissal reasons is probably different.
In my opinion Natalia Meshkova became a victim of administrative prosecution for her active position and activity in the Union of journalists of Karelia and is punished for that, and at the same time and over "Lycée". Karelian journalists are prosecuted and this process begun with the new governor Andrey Nelidov coming to power. I think A.Nelidov shows little interest to inner affairs of Karelian editions but administrative prosecution of journalists is done by his name so the responsible for destruction of media is also his.
The board of the Union of journalists of Karelia has already addressed A.Nelidovuwith the offer to meet and discuss current issues of republican mass-medi and he agreed to. However time is passing but but he shows no initiative. Meanwhile his appointee A.Arhipov "smooths out" editions. It's no use to talk to the head of publishing house "Karelia" — he does what he believes to be right and doesn't hear other points of view. But he has an employer — governor A. Nelidov — who has possibility to change incorrect activity of the worker.
Anatoly Tsygankov, Web-site politika-karelia.ru
P.S. On November, 3rd the prevention about the termination of the labor contract was received also by the assistant to the editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Karelia" Andrey Farutin (also the Union of journalists of Karelia's Board member).
Translated by Tatiana Polkova